Weekend Reading: Post It All Edition

That Hot Summer HeatTwo weeks ago, Bill Wolff posted all of his reconstructing, tenure, and promotion documents to his web site. Today, he has a follow-up post explaining why he’d take such a revealing step, and it’s pretty compelling. He has several different reasons; this one is the one that strikes most home with me:

To show what a process is like at a Master’s-level university that values Teaching over Scholarly Production.

Too often online and real-life discussions of recontracting, tenure, and promotion focus solely on these processes at Research universities even though the majority of faculty working in higher education in the United States are not at such schools. They are a Master’s-level or four-year universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, and Community Colleges. The work faculty do at those universities is vital for students and higher education, overall. By putting these documents online, along with a discussion of the recontracting process, I hope to provide some insight into what it is like at a Master’s-level university—that is, what the process looks like when Teaching is the primary area in which one is evaluated.

This is an excellent point: It’s still the case that many graduate students’ knowledge of and expectations about tenure are framed through research-intensive universities, since that’s where they earned their doctorates. But most people will, as Bill notes, end up at a very different kind of school, and it’s worthwhile seeing what that process is like.

It would be great to see more examples of this!

On to this week’s links:

  • I’m betting the problem Jessa Crispin describes in “The Human Stain” *never* occurs in academe.
  • Jonathan Rees has a thoughtful post about “Workers’ control in academia”: I am suggesting that online education is a threat to our control of the shop floor. In fact, it entirely eliminates the shop floor we once controlled. Online educators can hardly even interact with their students at all without negotiating a space controlled almost entirely by their employers.
  • Natalia Cecire explores Twitter as an antilinguistic medium: I think that in some cases this makes people feel as though they have to live up to a kind of antilinguistic standard on Twitter, to introduce noise gratuitously as if in homage to the medium—as if to make it really tweeting.
  • Tom McCabe explains “Why Academic Papers Are a Terrible Discussion Forum”: I won’t try to argue that papers aren’t worth publishing. There are many reasons to publish papers – prestige in certain communities and promises to grant agencies, for instance – and I haven’t looked at them all in detail. However, I think there is a conclusive case that as a discussion forum – a way for ideas to be read by other people, evaluated, spread, criticized, and built on – academic papers fail. (Via Jose Quesada)
  • Rebecca Federman, Laura Shapiro, and Nicola Twilley discuss the cultural history of lunch: Before sliced bread, the lunch literature is full of advice on social distinctions and the thickness of bread in sandwiches. You slice it very thick and you leave the crusts on if you’re giving them to workers, but for ladies, it should be extremely, extremely thin.

This week’s video is in honor of yesterday’s mathematical holiday:

Have a great weekend!

Photo “That Hot Summer Heat” by Flickr user Sean McGrath / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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